Story

Kwai vs. Mama


It was early on the morning as Kwai Chang Kane made his slow way up the side of the glacier in the land of Axe. He was not happy as he climbed to get his revenge on the dragon mother high on the top of the mountain. He had trained and studied many long hours, learning the ice dragon's weaknesses. He had perfected his art, his style of combat. "Soon.", he reflected, "Soon I shall fight the dragon and, either kill her or I shall die at her hands."

He thought back to why this was necessary and the memory fanned his anger anew, turning the cold of the glacier to like a raging inferno. The memory was crystal clear as if it had only just happened. A much younger Kwai and his longtime friend and guild brother, Napalm, were journeying up the same glacier, taking much the same path as Kwai now took. They were going to fight the same dragon, because Kwai thought it needed to be done and was supremely confident that he could kill the dragon by himself. Napalm was going to watch and to rescue Kwai if he got into trouble. Napalm had said that a handy teleport spell could get them both out of trouble. As they arrived, Kwai checked the stockpile of healing balms that he had brought up. "Surely, they will be enough", he thought. As he ran in and taunted the dragon to lure her out, Napalm stood to one side out of harms way. But something went wrong. The dragon threw Kwai off the ledge and, as he hurried to climb back up, she attacked the young wizard, Napalm. Her viscious attack left Napalm stunned and Kwai arrived back on the ledge just in time to see her swallow Napalm whole. Kwai threw himself at her with a vengeance, his mind clouded with fury. But it was to no avail. The dragon shrugged off his attacks and, wounding him severely, she left him to die. But Kwai's anger sustained him and he managed to drag himself down the mountain back to town to rest and heal.

Over the marker that their DOOM brethren had erected in Napalm's memory, Kwai was filled with remorse, placing the blame for Napalm's death squarely where it belonged, on his own shoulders. For if he had not wanted to fight, Napalm would not have gone and, hence, would not be dead. He swore a solemn vow to one day return to the glacier and finish the unholy dragon off.

That day had finally arrived. Looking around, Kwai realised that he had reached the top. Above was only the drake named Sparkles and, just a littlefurther up, the ice dragon. As he arrived, he heard the death scream of the drake. Rushing up he found a man rummaging through the piles of treasure that Sparkles had collected. "My kill.", the man said as he advanced menacingly on Kwai. Kwai replied, "I am just passing through. I go to kill the ice dragon above." The man laughed at this, saying incredulously, "Alone! I'll make sure to notify your next of kin." Kwai simply replied, "I must for I have vowed to the ghods to kill the dragon for the death of my brother. I must make sure that she never harms another soul." The man just stood there laughing.

Kwai climbed on. Arriving on a ledge outside of the ice dragon's lair, he found a good spot to place his healing potions. He had brought many and he prayed they would be enough. He checked his equipment one final time. One thing he had learned after the first disastrous attempt was that only silver could harm the dragon and, of all the silver weapons, the greataxe did the most harm. He checked the rings that he wore, one to protect him from the icy cold of the dragons breath and the rest to shield him from the more mundane physical attacks of tooth and claw. He hoped that they were actually what the sneaky little man claimed they were and not just an unmagical ring sold to the unwary. Of all his magic items, only his boots had been tested, and these were to slow him down and make him as light as a feather should he be thrown from the ledge. Resting his Silver Greataxe on his shoulder, he prepared to enter the lair once more. He had practiced many long hours, learning how to use the axe one handed so that he could use his martial arts to block as many of the attacks as possible. Taking one final deep breath, he calmly walked into the lair.

He started to yell taunts at the dragon, hoping to anger her into making mistakes. The dragon raised up to full height and exhaled. Cringing, Kwai realised that he was outside of the range of her breath! The dragon realised this too and threw herself at the small, frightened figure of the kung-fu student from Leng. Kwai looked up when the blow did not land. He and the dragon both were surprised to see that something had brought the dragon up short, like running into a wall. It suddenly dawned on Kwai that the rings really did work. Realising that he had work to do, he swung his axe. Drawing first blood, his axe cut into the dragon's hide. The sight of the wound gave heart to the young fighter, even though it was nothing more than a scratch. The dragon did not even have to ignore the wound, so small was it. The battle had been joined. Back and forth they went, the mountains ringing with the fury of the melee. Whenever the dragon's breath weapon of cold and ice had recharged, she would breathe it out again, freezing poor Kwai to the very bone. The day slowly turned into night and still they fought. Sometimes the dragon would sneak an attack through humble Kwai's defenses and then another Balm of Gideon, those healing potions, would be drunk. Over and over Kwai swung the axe, his arms growing leaden from the effort. He stopped to rest a bit but soon realised with horror that the dragon's wounds were slowly disappearing. She was healing herself almost as fast as he could hurt her! No rest could he take. He thought again of the unsuspecting Napalm and returned to the fray with renewed strength. The ice of the glacier ran red with the blood lost from both combatants. If not for the temperature, they would both be sticky with the ichor of battle. Instead the blood froze on the ground, making a grisly scene. When he could get a moment to check, Kwai realised that his supply of balms was dwindling rapidly. Silently, he offered a prayer that they would hold out long enough for the task at hand. Night turned into day, and still they fought. Day turned into night once again, and still they fought. Until, finally, a solid swing of the axe right between the dragons eyes stunned it. Kwai saw his chance as the dragon's eyes glazed over. He became like a dervish top as he swung again and again, seeking some vital point to end the battle once and for all. Suddenly, the dragon reared up and screamed the most hideous sound that Kwai had ever heard. And, then, Kwai scrambled madly to get out of the way as she fell. Alas, it was to no avail and the dragon expired right on top of poor Kwai.

Stunned, he realised that if he did not want to join her in death he must start digging. He attached his axe to his belt and started the grisly task of clawing his way free. He thanked Puck, the trainer who had gifted Kwai, with the magic crystal gauntlets that did the work quickly. Soon, he was once again breathing the fresh cold mountain air. Determined to return with a token of his valor, he chopped off the dragons head and enough of the hide to make the prized armor of ice dragon scales. This accomplished, he entered the lair for one last time for the treasure that all dragons hoard.

Kwai looked over the mountains of gold and gems. He finally chose two rings, one like the shield rings he now wore and one a glowing red gem. Trying on the glowing red gem, he found that his load did not seem as heavy. Kwai also took a bottle with blossoms painted on the outside and a porcelain figurine of a griffin. The last item he found was a helm that appeared to be made out of the skull of some fantastic creature. These items went into his sack along with a few handfuls of gems and gold until the sack was full.
Feeling quite satisfied with himself and with a lighter step from the revenge long delayed, Kwai began the long trek back down the mountain to town. Along the way, he told everyone he met that the dragon would bother them no more. Astonished silence was the only reply he received.

Submitted by KwaiCKane...DOOM